In early September the crosses of the Riga Orthodox Christ’s Birth Cathedral were lit up in gold, thus completing the thirteen-year-long restoration works of the cathedral within the scope of the charity campaign SVET under the supervision of Skonto Būve specialists.

The beginnings of the SVET charity campaign can be found in 2002. The campaign was initiated by Guntis Rāvis and the leading construction company Skonto Būve. Restoration works were performed in several stages.

The initial stage of the campaign was devoted to thorough research work and in 2005 the façade of the church was restored. The unique wall paintings were completed in the interior of the cathedral and also the rear partial wall, which was not painted up to now, was painted in the spirit of Orthodox traditions.

During the next stage in 2001 the 80-square-metre belfry dome was gilded with the highest quality 980-proof gold leaves and the two-metre-high cross was fully made anew and gilded. The gilding process was managed by Gazis Habibuļins – one of the rare old masters of restoration works in Latvia. According to Mr. Habibuļins, the gilding is not only the most beautiful, but also the most sustainable dome covering, which does not rust or oxidise for a long time – it will not need to be restored earlier than in 40–50 years from now.

The largest volume of work – gilding of the central dome of the cathedral – was performed in 2014. Its 400-square-metre-wide surface was coated with 980-proof gold, using 57, 740 golden leaves in the gilding.

The gilding of the three small crosses of the entry and the four dome crosses of the cathedral were commenced in the summer of 2015. Project Manager of the company Skonto Būve Modris Seļakovs says that when commencing the work of the gilding design for the crosses of the cathedral, the Orthodox Church wished to install the traditional crosses without decorations above the cathedral corresponding to the Orthodox trends, but the Latvian State Inspection for Heritage Protection asked to preserve the existing form of the crosses, thus emphasising the value of the authentic crosses in the historical heritage of the building and Riga urban construction.

The gilding of the three small crosses of the entry and four dome crosses of the cathedral was carried out by Laura Ikerte – a gilding specialist certified by the Latvian State Inspection for Heritage Protection under supervision of the old master G. Habibuļins. In addition, 980-proof gold was used for gilding this time.

The restoration works of the cathedral were performed under the supervision of Project Manager of SIA Skonto Būve Modris Seļakovs. The restoration and gilding works of the church were performed thanks to long-term donations of Guntis Rāvis and other entrepreneurs.

Work, resources and knowledge contributed by the company and Guntis Rāvis in person have made it possible for one of the most beautiful and majestic buildings built in the Neo-Byzantine style to be revived in Riga's historical centre.